Published on May 9, 2014
Planet Aid, Inc. along with its in-country implementing partners, ADPP Mozambique (ADPP) and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health** (WISHH), are carrying out a 3.5-year multi-faceted health, nutrition, and educational development program to benefit more than 1 million students, teachers, parents, and community members in Mozambique. The program was launched in 2012 is being carried out under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.* This progress update focuses on two aspects of the program: teacher training and student literacy. The program aims to improve the academic performance of 60,000 children through better quality teaching, and is set to train 4,000 new primary school teachers in Mozambique. In addition to improvements in classroom teaching, the program will establish 242 School Clubs in each of the participating primary schools. The aim of the clubs is to create a broader more robust learning environment to further strengthen academic performance among children. Since the project was launched in 2012, all 242 School Learning Clubs have been established, exceeding the target date by more than one year. In addition, 1,483 new primary school teachers supported by the program enrolled at the 11 ADPP Teacher Training Colleges in the first year (the first-year enrollment target was 900) and 825 new teachers have graduated from the program. To further illustrate the program’s success in the areas of teacher training and student literacy, this update also provides two brief case stories: the first is about a teacher (named Pelágio Abílio Muteli) who was trained under the program, and the second is about a primary school student (Selena Abdul Issa Chibalambala) who acquired greater language mastery through her participation in a School Club. * The McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program helps support education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries around the globe. The program provides for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities, as well as financial and technical assistance, to support school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects. **A program operated by the American Soybean Association (ASA). U.S. Department of Agriculture McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program ADPPMozambiqueMozambique Progress in Training Primary School Teachers and Improving Student Literacy in Mozambique
“Acertou, acertou, muito bem!” (“Got it right, got it right, very well!”) sing the second graders at the EPC 5 de Fevereiro Primary School in Machava, Mozambique.They end their chant with a loud round of applause to honor their classmate who has just written the letter “A” correctly on the blackboard. The song is part of a play that encourages children to take active roles in the class. The proud little girl has barely reached her desk when her colleagues eagerly line up to write the next letter. Every one wants to be sung to. Pelágio Abílio Muteli, a Teacher Thinking Outside the Box and Teaching Beyond the Book
“If there is a student in the class who is lagging behind, it is the teacher’s responsibility to see that the student gets all the support and help needed in order to catch up with the others.” — Pelágio Abílio Muteli
“The most important thing is to create a willingness to learn in a child. Achieving this depends on the creativity of the teacher,” explains Pelágio Abílio Muteli, from the ADPP Teacher Training College of Maputo (TTC) when asked about how to teach children to read and write.“One can use the traditional ABC-book, but one can also use songs and games, for instance. In fact, children learn best through play and games.” The 25 year-old Pelágio is among the TTC Maputo students who benefitted from the support provided by the Food For Education Program.He began his student teaching practice period at the EPC 5 de Fevereiro Primary School in February 2013. The practice period spanned 8 months, during which the students had the opportunity to get first-hand experience of what it takes to capture the attention of lively primary school- aged children. “My best experience was the extra-curricular classes that we gave to students who had problems in reading and writing,” Pelágio says. “They were very successful in making children learn. In the beginning there were only 16 students participating in them but they got so popular over time that the whole class would come to them at the end. Not one single student failed at the end of the year exams and I am convinced that it was thanks to our classes.” The secret, according to Pelágio, was in the “alphabet box”,a didactic tool he designed with his colleagues.The box itself was made of simple cardboard and included all letters of the alphabet cut from colorful cardboard paper.The idea was to let the children use the letters to build words as if they were constructing a puzzle. “This made learning the alphabet and practicing writing a fun game,” he explains. Pelágio accepts no excuse from teachers whose students perform poorly, “It all depends on the teacher. If there is a student in the class who is lagging behind, it is the teacher’s responsibility to see that the student gets all the support and help needed in order to catch up with the others.” He also stresses the importance of creating the conditions for learning from the very beginning. “My technique is to ensure that all children feel comfortable right from the start. I treat every child as if I already knew him or her. In this way he or she will feel that we are friends and that we are working towards the same goals,” he explains.“This is key in reducing shyness and in creating a real willingness to learn.” Pelágio Abílio Muteli (continued)
“I didn’t use to like Portuguese very much,” confesses Selena Abdul Issa Chibalambala, a 11-year-old girl from Chobela,Magude District.“I had problems with reading and writing. The words seemed to bounce around when I read them and it was difficult for me to write long sentences.” All that changed in 2013 when Selena moved to the EPC Movane Primary School,where the Food for Education Program was being implemented. Participating in the school’s Learning Club established by the program was crucial for Selena.The more relaxed practice sessions available through the Club allowed Selena to make substantial progress in her mastery of Portuguese. “We do all sorts of things in the Club,” explains Selena. “We read stories, learn about Portuguese grammar and practice writing texts given by the teacher. Some- times we write whatever comes into our mind and the teacher then corrects the texts.” “We have a lot of fun in the Club!” she adds with excitement.“The thing is that we like to learn together and help each other. Sometimes we stay studying until late in the evening.” Selena’s improvement enabled her to help other children get interested in learning to read. She explained how she helped a young boy named Julinho to read and write. “Julinho lives next to me. He is not at school yet but if I continue teaching him, he might know how to read and write before going to first grade!” she adds with a smile. Selena’s teacher, Augusto Salomao Mucocana, is very happy with her improvements. “The change in only a few months has been very promising,” he says. “She seems like a different student now. Not only does she read and write a lot better, she also has a lot more confidence as well.” As proof, Selena adds with pride in her voice,“I got a 20/20 score from my last Portuguese test!” Selena is the youngest of her family. She has three sisters and one brother. Her mother works the family’s machamba (a subsistence farm plot). Her agronomist father is her role model; when she grows up she would also like to be an agronomist. She knows that in order to be one, she will need to work hard at school. “It’s only a question of studying a lot,” she says with determination. Selena Abdul Issa Chibalambala Success Through Learning Club
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